The David Lee Roth/Van Halen reunion is officially on, with a new single off their upcoming album A Different Kind Of Truth, complete with a black and white music video of the band performing it at the Roxy in L.A. last week. The contested metal band (hair, or not hair, that is the question) hasn't put out an album with original frontman Roth since 1984, when their album 1984 marked their bitter parting-of-ways.
After watching the video for "Tattoo" (below) it must be said, DLR is no Sammy Hagar or Gary Cherone. He's better. Way better, obviously. Like some beautiful lovechild of Sting's and Mick Jagger's, who everyone in the land welcomed by knocking their knees together and spinning. That's a lot of what DLR does in the video, plus vocals, with Alex and Eddie Van Halen back on drum and guitar respectively, and Eddie's son Wolfgang taking Michael Anthony's place on bass. They're all great with the possible exception of Wolfgang, who everyone just sort of hates in general, but who in fairness, does have big shoes to fill.
As for the song itself, the astute critics at Stereogum are calling it "bathroom-break material" for the foursome's North American tour (launching this Feb), and there's some truth to that. But the lyrics! "I got Elvis/on my elbow/and when I flex/Elvis talks"? "Sexy dragon magic"? "So very autobiographic"? That is some quality tattoo commentary! Maybe the definitive song on tattoos? A Different Kind Of Truth drops Feb. 7.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated that Van Halen hadn't appeared with David Lee Roth since 1984. The line has been corrected to reflect that 1984 is when they stopped making albums together. Until now!